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How Does Driver Status Affect My Rideshare Claim?

A car accident is an upsetting experience, especially when you suffer painful injuries. In fault-based insurance states, the distress sometimes continues long after the accident while navigating the process of recovering compensation for financial losses. Any car accident claim for property damage and medical expenses is challenging to process successfully, but what if the at-fault driver’s vehicle is covered by different insurance policies and coverage amounts based on what they were doing when the accident occurred? Naturally, this type of system is ripe for disputes. Unfortunately, this is exactly the case after an accident with a rideshare vehicle like Uber or Lyft.

Before you can make a successful claim for compensation in a rideshare accident claim, as the injury victim, it’s up to you to make a claim against the correct policy. A rideshare accident claim takes a thorough investigation.

Understanding Fault in a Rideshare Claim

As a rideshare passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, you are never the liable party in an accident. However, some rideshare accident claims arise from those injured in another vehicle involved in a collision with a rideshare vehicle, or from a pedestrian hit by an Uber or Lyft car. Before you can make a successful rideshare accident claim, it’s necessary to investigate all aspects of the accident to determine the cause of the accident, who is at fault, and what insurance policy should cover the damages. When the rideshare driver is at fault due to a driving error, carelessness, recklessness, or wrongdoing such as intoxicated driving, a successful claim to recover compensation for damages begins with determining the rideshare driver’s status when the accident occurred.

What Does Driver Status Mean in a Rideshare Claim?

Large, powerful rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber distance themselves from liability in accidents by using independent contractors as drivers rather than employees. They require drivers to carry special rideshare insurance with coverage that depends on the driver’s status at the time of the accident. The structure of coverage for a rideshare accident works as follows:

  • When the driver uses their vehicle for personal use, their standard auto insurance coverage is in place
  • As soon as they turn on their rideshare app and await a passenger, the bottom tier of rideshare coverage is in place with up to $30,000 in property damage, $50,000 per person for bodily injury or death, and $100,000 total per accident for bodily injury or death for multiple injury victims
  • Once the driver has engaged a passenger booking, while on the way to the pickup location, and throughout the rideshare trip with the passenger, the top-tier coverage is in place, providing up to $1 million in bodily injury or death coverage and property damage and $1 million in uninsured motorist coverage

Because the driver’s status determines which policy was in place at the time of the accident, insurance companies routinely dispute rideshare claims, making them uniquely challenging to navigate successfully.

After an accident as a passenger in a rideshare vehicle or an accident with a rideshare vehicle, it’s best to hire a Van Nuys rideshare accident attorney with experience in this type of complex claim who can investigate the case, document evidence, and make a compelling case for your full compensation.